Twelve (More) Pieces of Unsolicited Advice

The best part about having a little corner of the internet that belongs to me exclusively is being able to put down ideas - sometimes half-baked ideas - and see the way people react. My last blog post on this topic (which you can find here) is one of my more popular blog posts, so I thought I'd revisit the idea. Let me know what you think of this second set! 

1. Invest a little time in the interests of your friends and family. Once upon a time, I had a cousin who watched anime. He showed some shows to my dad, who approached the whole genre with an attitude of genre humility, or a lack of bias to story-telling in a particular medium. My dad got VERY into anime, and we started watching it together. I am not particularly into the genre, although I love some of the shows. What's important is that we all spent time getting to know someone's interests, and realizing they are - wait for it - interesting. Your boyfriend likes punk? Do some homework. Your new roommate really loves fashion? Find out what's so interesting. Even if you don't like it yourself, you'll be able to hold a conversation, which brings me to...

2. Learn how to talk about anything with anyone. Obviously, you can't become an expert in everything. While it's important to try to learn as much as you can about the different topics and issues in the world, it's just not possible to hold an intelligent conversation with everyone if you try to know everything. Learn what you can, but there is a secret: contribute what you do know - or think you know - and then say something like, "but this isn't really my field of expertise. What do you think/tell me more about it." Boom. Conversation. 

3. Don't drink diet soda. It's bad, m'kay? Besides, if you like the bubbles, just add fruit juice to seltzer water. I know, regular soda isn't great for you, but google it. Diet soda is worse. 

4. Reserve the specialness of certain places/things in your own mind. I play this game with rewarding myself with things I have ready access to. For example, I might tell myself I can't have chocolate until I finish this blog post, or that I can watch Netflix when I finish my homework. I self-talk in a way that makes the ordinary feel special.

5. Research different religions and philosophies in a practical way. Ask people what they think about certain topics. It's amazing what comes up. 

6. When invited, join in kids' imaginary worlds. Kids are not stupid. Pretend along with them. It's just more fun. Just remember, the world of imagination is utterly serious. If a kid tells you that you've broken the rules, repent immediately. 

7. Have your reading material on a rotation. Re-read favorites. Read a non-fiction book followed by a Young Adult novel. Read poetry. It keeps your brain going. Plus, the world of words is a world, intimately connected to all other parts. It's amazing when you see an idea play out against time and space. It's great. 

8. Acknowledge where you break stereotype - and where you do not. Understanding the way you fulfill societal expectations, and the ways you do not, will help you be in touch with your own mark on the world. I'm not saying that you should have a chip on your shoulder; it's quite the opposite. If you are a female, and you realize that you have a deep but casual interest in astrophysics, but desperately want to be a stay-at-home mom, enjoy the contradiction. They both exist in you, and in you, they do not contradict. The attitude will make navigating a world built on society much easier. 

9. Eat fruit either a half an hour before eating a meal, or an hour afterward. It's easier on your digestion and you get more nutrients. 

10. Wash your jeans inside out. It prevents fading. 

11. Laugh at the joke. Imagine your current situation as a TV show. Would this be funny if you saw it happening to a fictional character? It might help to see life as a series of stories, and when the funny ones come up, let the stress go and go for laughs. 

12. Put things on the Zen List. I have a list in my head of things I cannot change. This is my Zen List. Things on the Zen List are things that are not allowed to be built up into more serious stressors. If something can be changed, it doesn't go on the Zen list. It goes on the "Things-to-Work-On" List. Take the flu as an example. If I have the flu, I cannot change the way I feel, and therefore, there is no point in stressing out about the money I will lose by not going to work. I can rewrite my budget to accommodate having less money (The TWO List) but the flu cannot change. Breath in, breath out, drink water, Zen. 

I hope this list was fun to read. Let me know what you think!